"All I wanted to do was...be close to them..."
I’m going to be honest and say that Celia’s not a very appealing character to me at the moment. I know my opinion will change in the future, but she’s not a bad character overall. She reminds me a lot of Sakura Haruno from Naruto, but she also reminds me of Hinata too; she’s like a mix of them both since she has low confidence and self-esteem and her goal for wanting to get stronger revolved around staring at two boys’ backs at a distance for too long.
Her story of overcoming her low confidence through trials and tribulations with Michelle is a relatable story, but I was expecting a bit more. It’s understandable that Celia’s confidence stems from being overshadowed by Leo and Hugo, but I kind of want to see more. Is it really because of the overshadowing or is it something more than that? Unfortunately, the source/reason for her low confidence probably won’t be shown until a future chapter or maybe not at all.
One last gripe I had with Celia’s arc is that she managed to get her confidence with the power of friendship by the very last chapter. It would’ve been great to see her slowly become more confident in later chapters, but that’s just a nitpick I have as a writer. The shounen anime storytelling shines here when Celia gets her shounen anime friendship moment that makes her strong and beat her opponent.
Michelle, on the other hand, is great. She played the role of emotional support and she did it well. She was always there to encourage Celia, which was a factor for her development in chapter 4. I love how calm she was and never got discouraged. She was the last ranked cadet in her class and had to be paired up with Celia, making for a real underdog story. Michelle’s origins are briefly mentioned as she mentioned working at her grandfather’s clinic and then saying that it wasn’t what she had thought it was, foreshadowing that her past is dark.
Despite being the underdogs, Michelle’s admiration for Celia was real sweet to watch. She kept calling her amazing and even compared Celia to a princess. Michelle calling herself the court gardener was cute too. I hope these two become the closest of friends.
My favorite moment of hers was when she clapped back at Leo for trying to get Celia to forfeit the match. It might put Leo in a bad light, but I understand that he cares for her, which was why he had said it, but it was still wrong for him to say it. I think the reason why Leo is very awkward around Michelle is because of what he had said at the time and doesn’t really know how to apologize to her. Given that there are hints that these two might be canon, an apology might be made during Episode Michelle.
Gameplay-wise, Celia is fun to use. I couldn’t get adjusted to her at first and got my first Game Over because of it, but the more I used her, the more I found her fun to play as. I love using her Awakening mode where she can hit multiple enemies at once. I think using the terrain was a smart idea since she’s not a close combat attacker. I quite liked it, honestly. It shows that every episode isn’t as repetitive in gameplay.
Because Celia is a long-ranged attacker, pairing her up with Michelle was a very smart decision since she’s a mage that can also heal. It’s very necessary since enemies have to approach Celia rather than her coming to them.
The biggest annoyance in her gameplay happens to be the secret missions. THEY ARE IMPOSSIBLE TO COMPLETE! Most of them are just enemies approaching Celia without a place for her to take cover and to aim. The worst part is that Michelle’s not with her so she cannot heal or help out. Why do they exist?
I was a bit underwhelmed with the final fight with Leo and Hugo. Given that there were two other human pair bosses, I would assume the AI would be as smart as before, but Hugo and Leo’s AI in this fight were DUMBASSES. They kept charging towards Michelle and don’t even attack her! They just stood there while she casted and Celia aimed at them from the farthest distance. I legit had to get closer to them towards the end just for them to attack me back. Top of the class, my ass.
Other details I like about this chapter are some characterizations for some characters. Other than Celia, Michelle and Leo, the game gives out some additional characterization for Maxime and Hugo.
In Chapter 2, Maxime seems to be a bit clumsy with his actions as he dismissed an escort for Celia and Michelle during their venture in the forest. Maxime has a hard time apologizing and tries to cover himself by showing his haughty attitude. His ego is as big as the soles of his shoes.
Chapter 4 shows that Hugo is the most popular boy in the first year’s class. Talking to some female NPCs will reveal that girls like his cool demeanor and his skin tone. It’s no surprise that Hugo is popular, though. Girls love the calm and collected pretty boys. Hugo is also a handsome boy. It’s amusing how Celia had no idea Hugo was popular.
One last detail I liked was that this episode showed how the school system worked. People join the academy and train to see who gets to join Blaze and swear loyalty to the Jerle Empire. It’s like seeing an actual knight academy and not be an implied story point like for some past Tales characters.
Like with Leo, Celia has potential to grow as a character, so I’m eager to see what the second Celia episode will do for her. What’s next for her now that she’s confident and is a member of Blaze?